First thing, both the salary cap and the tax apron increase some 3.5M for next season: cap = 62.2M, apron = 75.2M
Second thing, it is true that being a tax payer limits trades (S&T are prohibited) and non tax payers have more flexibility in making trades that send out less money than they bring in. However, as of right now, those rules kick in at the 74M mark, which is about 2.3M more than the apron (71.7). You can expect that same ratio to apply to the new projected apron of 75.2M which takes us into the 78M region. Also, cap holds (like Pau this summer if he isn't traded) and minimum players (except Nick young's two year deal) do not count against our tax calculations.
Third thing, the Lakers have been tax payers for 2011/12, 2012/13 and even if they aren't tax payers for 2013/14, they would have to remain non tax payers for 2014/15 to avoid the repeater tax (ie you can't be a tax payer in at LEAST 3 of the last 4 seasons by the 2015/16 season). So the repeater tax has no bearing on how we conduct business this summer. They start kicking in for the 2014/15 season.
The last thing is that for the Lakers, money ain't a thang.
Exhibit A: Jimmy is playing with house money. His father developed the Laker brand into what it is today. His sister and the marketing division of the Lakers is what brokered that multi-billion dollar TWC cable deal, that is in danger of losing billions in an extension. Speaking of extensions, even Mitch is playing with house money by giving West's 1996 pick a premature 2 year extension.
Exhibit B: Jimmy used to gamble at the race track and boy do bad habits die slow....60M in picking the wrong "horses".
Exhibit C: LA is the 2nd largest media market and even when we don't sell out games, its only about 1,000 folks not showing up. Capacity is 18,997 and in our last non-sell out game, 18,002 showed up. Kobe is still a global icon and as long as he's attached to the Lakers...merchandising, merchandising, merchandising....the Schwartz is strong in that one (see: Spaceballs...no seriously, go see it now!)
Exhibit D: With Kobe at about 25M, we can get 2 more players on max contracts and still be 5M (25+22.5+22.5 = 70, with the apron being a little north of 75M) away from not paying a single cent in taxes. Also, the repeater tax has heavy multipliers when you breach the apron by double digit millions ($4 for every $1 dollar that is 15M+ over the apron). So for example, if LA has a 85M payroll in 2014/15, and lets assume the apron is still set at about 75M, then they would be over by 10M (teams that are over from 0-5M pay a max of 12.5M...and then a max of 13.75M from being over 5-10M) = giving a a total tax bill of 26.25M. <---Which is roughly how much Jimmy spent on real estate since the start of the season.
So as much as others are hyping up the repeater tax, any savings LA gains pales in comparison to what they would actually make if they put out a quality product on the floor.
Bottomline: Salary dumps are unacceptable...when playing armchair GM, do not look out for Jimmy...he's got his big boy pants on and probably cuffs the bottoms like Sr. Look out for the fans and the quality that certifies the Laker brand. Ownership will be fine...the players are still getting theirs....so who suffers....us!
Disclaimer: I referenced Coon's CBA FAQ and for the most part, I believe I have regurgitated the proper info. Please correct me in areas where I may have misinterpreted what I read.